Enhanced program gets enhanced


Welcoming students with learning disabilities and helping them through the year is the plan with the start of the 2014-15 school year. This will be achieved through the upcoming St. Joseph Program.

“The Enhance Program is designed for kids struggling with the transition from middle to high school,” Principal Madelyn Ball said. “I like to call [The St. Joseph Program] the enhanced-Enhance Program.” The Enhance Program will still exist after the St. Joseph Program begins, but the program will be focusing on different students with different needs.

This program is designed specifically for students with diagnosed learning disabilities. “[The students in the program] either have a verbal difference or a math difference—sometimes both,” Ball said. “We have to meet their needs.”

This program will be available next year for incoming freshman with learning disabilities. “It is our hope that people will be involved in this program for their freshman and sophomore years, but mainstream them for their junior and senior years,” Ball said.

The incoming students for The St. Joseph Program must go through an interview and application process to ensure that this program suits their needs.  Up to 15 students can be admitted into the program at once.

Psychology teacher Paul Lazor will “review pshyco-educational testing” in order to psychologically determine if the students are fit for The St. Joseph Program.

After acceptance into the program, the students will take part in a two week long summer program before the start of school. This is to help them adjust to the new environment.

With the start of the school year, these students will be integrated into the regular core course curriculum, or in other words the regular JC classes, while still being involved in the St. Joseph Program, taught by Program coordinator Ann Drummey. Drummey will be “overseeing the program and providing support in all areas.”

The core classes that the students in the St. Joseph Program take will be taught by current teachers trained in working with children with special needs.  “It’s possible that I could teach a social studies class for the students,” Lazor said.

Other schools in the area have programs similar to this, including Calvert Hall’s La Salle Program. “They don’t have quite the flexibility to guarantee that students will be in a class with a highly trained teacher,” Ball said.

To promote this new program, JC’s first step is to advertise at school fairs. On Sept. 18, 2013, JC advertised The St. Joseph Program at a fair specifically for students with learning disabilities. This took place at St. Clement elementary and middle school in Baltimore. The hope is to “promote the program to new families,” Director of Enrollment Ed Maynard said.

Ball believes that this program will help students with learning disabilities succeed. According to Ball, “give them what they need, and they can do it.”

Lauren Glase is a News editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com